Recently, a whistleblower case was closed to bring a major violation to light that resulted in an approximately $14 million payout. After discovering fraudulent activity, an individual volunteered a tip to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC was able to recoup investor funds after further investigation. As in this case, Wisconsin residents should be aware that they can contact the federal whistleblower program when suspecting an employer, colleague or any individual to be engaged in illegal activities that result in monetary benefits or personal gain.
Revealing fraudulent schemes can illicit a reward valued between 10-30 percent of the funds recovered from the perpetrator. The $14 million reward is the largest payment in the history of the SEC. If a tip is offered to the SEC that results in successful enforcement dealings, they have the authority to offer a reward.
Anytime a wrongdoing or fraud valued over $1 million has been committed against any federal agency, an individual can contact the Corporate Whistleblower Center to volunteer information. Because fraud is so prevalent among federal contractors, the center encourages any whistleblower to contact them directly. For the protection of the volunteer, no one else should be involved in the revelation of the defrauding. This may result in the elimination of the prospect of a reward.
Individuals are often in an awkward position when bringing a wrongdoer to justice. There is great potential for retaliation or actions perceived to be taken as retaliatory from the accused. Wisconsin residents may have a claim against the perpetrator, in addition to the initial whistleblower claim that was filed. The individual’s rights must be protected in any proceedings that are directly related to the illegal activities.
Source: The Washington Post, Business roundup: Big payout to whistleblower; Merck planning more layoffs, No author, Oct. 1, 2013